Video, audio, and content are all part of live streaming. We are going to focus on the audio aspect of a live stream today since it is just as important as every other element. So, what do you do to make sure that your live streaming experience is a smooth one where you can control your audio seamlessly? Having a great audio mixer is the key. With a streaming mixer, you can add excellent audio effects, change the background music, or even turn it down. Find out what makes an audio mixer so incredible, why you need it to live stream, and our top stream mixer recommendations.
Adding an audio mixer to your live streaming can increase its quality. But if you need one, which one do you choose? Musicians, producers of live events, podcasters, and other audio professionals generally use audio mixers. What are the features of a stream mixer that you should look for as a live streamer? The purpose of this guide is to provide streamers with basic information about audio mixers and what to look for when they choose one. The article also lists seven audio mixers that we think are the best for live streaming.
Audio Mixer: What Is it?
The function of a streaming mixer is to combine, balance, and mix multiple sources of audio into one signal. You need an audio mixer for fine-tuning your sound if you use multiple microphones, play music, or stream video gameplay. You can adjust all audio input volumes simultaneously, ensuring consistency.
Significance Of An Audio Mixer
The audio mixer allows you to handle multiple inputs simultaneously. The sound and frequencies can be controlled by plugging in a microphone, a mobile phone, and a laptop. Streaming audio mixers can be used in the following ways:
- Controlling background music and its volume
- Reducing the feedback on a lapel microphone
- Audio mixing in case of streaming with multiple guests
- Streaming from a two-PC setup
- Broadcasting with a gaming console and XLR microphones
- Broadcasting a live show with background music and one or more guests
You probably don’t need an audio mixer if you don’t have multiple audio inputs. Instead, you can purchase an audio interface. An audio mixer, however, will help you control your sound if you’re planning on streaming or broadcasting an event with more than two audio sources.
With streaming software, audio mixers are integrated seamlessly. If you are a streamer, you don’t need DAW software, since podcasters and musicians usually use it.
Why Do You Need An Audio Mixer For Streaming?
When it comes to streaming, the quality of the audio is just as important as the video. In fact, some might argue that it’s even more important. This is where an audio mixer comes in. It is a piece of equipment that allows you to control and manipulate multiple audio signals, giving you more control over the sound that your viewers hear. Here are some reasons why you need an audio mixer for streaming.
- An audio mixer allows you to balance the levels of different audio sources. When you’re streaming, you might have multiple microphones, background music, and sound effects all playing at once. Without an audio mixer, it can be challenging to ensure that each sound is heard at the right volume. An audio mixer lets you adjust the levels of each source, so that everything can be heard clearly.
- An audio mixer is the ability to add effects to your audio. For example, you might want to add reverb or delay to your voice to make it sound more professional. An audio mixer gives you the ability to do this, allowing you to create a more polished and engaging stream.
- An audio mixer also allows you to monitor your audio levels in real-time. This means that you can see how loud each source is and adjust it accordingly. It’s important to ensure that your audio levels are consistent throughout your stream, as sudden spikes or drops in volume can be jarring for your viewers.
- An audio mixer can help reduce background noise and improve the overall quality of your audio. Many mixers have built-in noise gates and filters that can help remove unwanted sounds, such as keyboard clicks or background hum.
Things To Keep In Mind While Choosing An Audio Mixer
You need to keep several factors in mind when buying an audio mixer. Choose an audio mixer that meets your needs based on the channels and tuning functions it has. When choosing an audio mixer, here are some things to consider.
1. Type Of Mixer: Digital Or Analog
There are two types of audio mixers: analog and digital. There are fewer buttons and dials on analog mixers, making them less expensive and easier to use. Analog mixers are convenient and efficient for those new to audio mixing. Nevertheless, they tend to offer fewer external connections than digital audio mixers and lack customization options.
Connecting multiple devices and tuning your audio are easier with digital mixers. In addition to preventing white noise and buzzing, the digital audio transfer also eliminates the nuisance of white noise that is created by analog mixers. However, digital audio mixers have the negative features of being more expensive and requiring more time to customize than analog mixers.
The choice of a digital or analog audio mixer depends on your preference for convenience or customization. The best way to learn how to mix audio is to start with analog.
2. Mixer Channels
You can think of a channel as a signal path; it is where the audio travels on an audio mixer. Channels are used to connect your audio sources, so you can connect more sources the more channels you have. The more the channels, the costlier the mixer. So, make sure you know your channel requirements before purchasing a mixer. In general, three channels are sufficient for live streaming – but your needs might vary depending on your setup.
3. Audio Tuning
It’s important that your audio mixer can provide you with the tuning capabilities you need to control your sound. You should look for an audio mixer that lets you adjust the channels, the compression, and the equalization (EQ). In general, EQ knobs control things like treble, bass, etc., and they help you ensure the sound you hear is the same as what goes into the microphone. It’s important to have enough tuning options, but don’t go overboard with 20+ EQ knobs on an audio mixer.
The “British” style of EQ is one thing to keep in mind when it comes to EQ and audio mixers. In some audio mixer advertisements, you might see British EQ, which means they were based on EQ circuits used by British rock bands in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
4. Type Of Mic
Mixers need to be paired with the right microphones. The mixer you purchase should have a USB audio interface if you use a USB mic that connects directly to your computer.
In order for an XLR mic to work for streaming, phantom power is required. A phantom charger uses XLR cable power instead of a power cord, which is why it is called phantom power. Your audio mixer should be able to supply at least 48V of phantom power to support most XLR microphones.
5. Mixer Size
The sizes of audio mixers vary widely, from very small to very large. Make sure the mixer you purchase fits on your desk along with the rest of your equipment before purchasing. When you are live streaming, you should have access to the audio mixer easily.
6. Mixer Price
When it comes to purchasing an audio mixer, most people will be concerned about the cost. The price of analog mixers tends to be lower than that of digital mixers. The higher the quality of the mixer, the more it will cost you, and if you want extra functionality, you will have to pay more as well.
Best Audio Mixers
1. TC-Helicon GoXLR
In order to meet the needs of streamers and gamers, TC-Helicon developed the GoXLR audio mixer. You’ll have ease of control over audio on your live broadcast thanks to the GoXLR’s features, such as the compact design and RGB lighting. Using this device can replace your audio interface, as well as other audio equipment, saving you space by consolidating everything into one box.
Other features include the following:
- USB connectivity
- Audio mixer with channels
- MIDAS preamp
- 3.5 mm input for headphones
- Phantom power of 48V for XLR microphones
- Optical input for Playstation or Xbox
2. Alto Professional ZMX52 Mixer
A compact audio mixer like the Alto Professional ZMX52 is ideal for streamers who need to set up quickly. The device might be small, but it has every feature a streamer could want, including five channels and two bands of EQ. Despite its affordability, it’s one of the most impressive models on the list. A higher-priced eight-channel model is almost as compact, but it has more channels.
Some of its other features are:
- XLR jack with phantom power
- Input channels for two stereos
- Two bands of EQ
- Outputs for main, headphones, tape and aux
3. Mackie ProFX8v2
The Mackie ProFX8v2 is ideal for streaming live performances and events. With four XLR inputs as well as seven-band graphic EQs, panning, compression control, and faders, this unit can be used to tune mains and monitors. Recording your shows or streams is also easy with the USB interface built-in. The Hi-Z input is great for musicians who want to connect directly to their instruments.
Other features are:
- Three bands of EQ
- Audio mixer with eight channels
- Effects engine with 16 sound effects
- Recording software ships
- Vita preamps
4. Pyle PMXU83BT
Pyle PMXU83BT audio mixers are not just for streaming. They work well in a wide variety of settings. Pyle mixers are decently priced for the quality they deliver, and are a good choice for podcasters, live event producers, and music producers. An EQ with three bands, two XLR/TRS inputs and a special effects processor with 16 settings will make life easier. However, some features are lacking, such as compression, for gaming streamers.
Some of the other features are:
- Built-in wireless receiver with Bluetooth connectivity
- Eight channels
- USB audio connectivity
- Four inputs for XLR microphones
- Phantom power of 48V
5. Behringer Xenyx QX1002USB Mixer
This analog mixer from Behrigner Xenyx offers plenty of features for more sophisticated users. This Xenyx QX1002USB model offers three-band EQ and six channels for streamers who use multiple PCs. Compression can be controlled with just one knob when connected to an XLR mic.
Its other features include the following:
- Three bands of EQ
- Processor with 100 presets
- Compression with just one knob
- Two Xenyx preamps
6. Yamaha MG10XU
The Yamaha MG10XU ten-channel audio mixer has integrated USB connectivity and special effects built in. Streamers who want professional-sounding audio will find this mixer to be an excellent choice since it delivers studio-quality audio and is easy to use. The 10-channel mixer is ideal for streamers who use multiple microphones.
Other features are:
- Phantom power of 48V
- Three bands of EQ
- Compression with one knob
- Audio mixer of ten channels
- D-PRE Class A preamp
- Two-channel playback and recording
7. RODECaster Pro
A RODECaster Pro may suit streamers that host interviews or talk shows instead of gaming sessions. An eight-pad soundboard with phantom power, four XLR inputs, Bluetooth in/out, and a USB audio interface make this a perfect podcaster’s tool. An SD card slot is included for saving and recording phone calls, a feature that isn’t available on all audio mixers.
Other striking features include:
- Four inputs for XLR microphones
- Options for nine languages
- USB, smartphone and Bluetooth connectivity for remote calls
- Noise gate, compressor, high-pass filter
The right audio mixer is crucial to perfecting the audio quality of your stream. It should be easier for you to find the perfect audio mixer after reading our recommendations. Don’t forget to try out your set up with multistreaming on Flutin.
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